When my wife and I arrived at the Hot Springs trailhead on Friday at 9:30 a.m., there was not a single legal space anywhere in the area.
Every space on Mountain Drive either had boulders placed in it or there were No Parking signs. There was even a stretch of hundreds of feet with yellow tape. I am quite sure these boulders and signs are illegally placed by local residents.
Even the tiny number of “legal” spaces right at the trailhead are not legal. Our hike took three hours. Those signs restrict parking to two hours.
The situation at the Tunnel trailhead has faced similar battles over the years. But eventually there has been a compromise that has worked relatively well. The main compromise there was to restrict almost all parking to one side of the road. And to have a total ban on parking on Red Flag Days of fire danger.
The difference with Tunnel Road? It is a dead end street with no other access. The Hot Springs area has far more access with no dead ends.
I would propose these changes:
1) Make Riven Rock Road one way downhill. Allow parking only on the right (downhill) side.
2) Residents on Mountain Drive have been placing boulders in the public right of way to keep people from parking in front of their houses. These obstructions need to be removed.
3) The tiny parking lot in front of the trailhead has absurd signs limiting parking to two hours. Most hikes take more than two hours. Those signs should be removed
4) Additional parking areas should be created and designated. Just as there is at the Cold Spring trailhead and at the Tunnel Road trailhead
5) Ban all parking on Red Flag high fire risk days. No one should be hiking on those days, anyway.
I will add one more point:
Literally thousands of vehicles from outside our area enter our residential Goleta neighborhood every hour of every day. Is there some reason we are treated differently than people in Montecito?